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# Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Suppose you have a library, which is out in the production and is used by many clients. At the same time the library evolves: API is extended, bugs are being fixed, code becomes faster and cleaner, bla bla bla...

At some point you're fixing some important bug that's been hiding for a long time in the bowels of your library. You're happy that you've spotted it before clients got into troubles. You're notifying all the clients that there is an important fix, and that they need to update the library.

What do you think you hear in return?

Well, we're not perfect, there are bugs in our software. We and our clients realize this. Nothing will eliminate bugs to creep into a code from time to time.

That's a train of thought of a particular client:

We agree that there is a bug and that it has to be fixed. We, however, want to touch the library in a minimal way, as who knows what other new bugs had they introduced, so let's ask them to fix this particular bug in our version of the library.

That's fair from the client's perspective. They don't want better code, they just want that particular bug fixed!

For us, however, this means branching some old version of the library, fixing bug and supporting this branch for the particular client. It's fair to expect similar position from each client, thus should we create and support library branches per client, and branch a main branch for a new client only?

For us (Arthur and Vladimir) it looks as enormous waste of resources. We (our company) should either hire more and more scaled people or experience gradual slowdown of support and development.

Our answer could be obvious if not position of top managers who value client relations so much that they easily promise whatever client wishes. No arguments that latest version is better tested, more conforming to specifications, more reliable, faster and so on are accepted. The main argument against our position is that the client's applications run in the production, and no new potential bugs are acceptable.

Here is our dilemma: we neither can convince the client (more precisely our managers) that we're right, nor are convinced with their arguments...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 8:16:11 AM UTC  #    Comments [3] -
Thinking aloud
Thursday, October 15, 2009 8:45:13 PM UTC
That sucks indeed. I guess you still need a branch per customer and more people obviously (I guess customers are paying for the support anyway).
Oleg Tkachenko
Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:35:30 PM UTC
Hello Oleg!

> I guess you still need a branch per customer and
> more people obviously

That's what is happenning...
Vladimir Nesterovsky
Friday, October 16, 2009 6:45:16 AM UTC
Another dilemma that was linked with this one - is profits. Managers complain that profits from product sales is reducing, so they push us to develop improved versions, whereas they agree to pay for support dead versions of the product. This way they drive company in dead alley.
Arthur Nesterovsky
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